What’s the pulse of the market?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported last week that existing-home sales ticked up in December. Home sales in 2013 were the highest since 2006 and median prices were showing “strong growth” across the nation.

The NAR also reported that the total existing sales for all home types increased 1% in December from November, but were 0.6% below the level from December 2012. Home sales in 2013 were 9.1% higher than they were in 2012.

Many markets experienced a great deal of improvement over the past two years. The NAR’s chief economist stated recently that “existing-home sales have risen nearly 20% since 2011, with job growth, record low mortgage interest rates and a large pent-up demand driving the market.” Toward the end of 2013 unemployment and low housing inventory caused the real estate market to slow.

The national median price for homes in 2013 was 11.5% above the 2012 median price and represents the largest gain since 2005. The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was up 9.9% from December 2012. Of that amount, distressed homes (foreclosures and short sales) accounted for 14% of December 2012 sales. Distressed sales were 24% in December 2012. The decreasing amount of distressed sales is attributed to some of the price growth. The breakdown of December distressed sales are 10% foreclosures and 4% short sales.

In Greenwich, median prices for single-family homes also need to be looked at from 2012 to 2013. In Cos Cob the median price of a home increased 8.44%. In Greenwich the increase was 0.6% but there was a decrease of 0.81% in Riverside and a decrease of 20.84% in Old Greenwich. Overall, the average median home price went up 4.83% for all of Greenwich, according to the Greenwich MLS.

According to the Greenwich MLS, the existing inventory of homes is about 5% down from January and December of 2012 as compared to the same time period the prior year. In 2013, single-family inventory was down between 4% and 19% per month in Greenwich when compared to 2012. The majority of sales were in the $1,000,000 to $1,999,999 market segment of single-family homes in both 2012 and 2013.

Total nationwide housing inventory at the end of December decreased 9.3% and represents a 4.6-month supply at the current sales rate. This is down from a 5.1-month supply in November. Homes remaining for sale is 1.6% above last year’s level, when there was a 4.5-month supply.

The median time on the market for homes across the nation was 72 days in December. This is up from 56 days in November, but down from 73 days on the market in December 2012. Of the homes that sold in December, 28% were on the market for less than a month, down from 35% in November.

First-time buyers in the United States constituted 27% of home purchasers in December. This is down from 28% in November and 30% in December 2012. Buyers with cash accounted for 32% of home sales in December as compared to 29% in December 2012.

Investors, which typically constitute most of cash buyers, purchased 21% of homes in December. This is up from 19% in November but unchanged from December 2012.


Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected]  

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